Brookhaven Overlook (Bellaire Dr.)

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 Original Story

Brand Properties has submitted to DeKalb County a site plan showing a proposed 7 story, 176 unit apartment project for the corner of Bellaire Drive and Peachtree Road.  DeKalb County Planning Department is reviewing the site plan for conformity to the Brookhaven-Peachtree Overlay District.  You can see the submitted concept plan here.  Currently, an older three-story apartment complex occupies the site.

The Bellaire Drive neighbors, HBNA and BPCA are actively opposing the project for a variety of reasons.  First, its size and character are not appropriate for its residential neighborhood–single-family detached homes abut the project’s rear.  In part, this is due to an oversight of the Overlay Zoning District which shows the site in Subarea 1, allowing up to 6 stories.  The site should have been designated Subarea 2, allowing up to 4 stories, since it “serve[s] as a transitional edge between high density development surrounding the MARTA transit station and existing single-family neighborhoods.” [27-728.15.12(f)(1)]  While the site does front on Peachtree Road, any new development should be respectful of the single-family, detached home neighbors adjoining the rear of the site.

The current plan shows 2 levels of parking beneath 5 floors of apartments for a total height of 7 stories.  Because the first parking level is below grade at Peachtree, the developers are not required to count it in the maximum story calculation.  All project traffic enters and exits from Bellaire Drive on the current plan.  This will impede traffic at the Bellaire Drive/Peachtree intersection, where it is already difficult, even impossible, to make a left hand turn many times of the day.  The project would do much better to enter and exit on Club Drive, where there is already a traffic light at Peachtree.

This points to a unique jurisdictional feature of the project–the proposed 7 story multifamily building (Building 1) is in DeKalb County while a proposed townhouse building (Building 2) is in the City of Atlanta.  The Atlanta property is zoned R-3, single-family residential, and is not part of the Overlay District.  Thus, we maintain that the Atlanta property must be rezoned or transitional buffers and height restrictions should apply along the Atlanta/DeKalb County property line.